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24-Hour Spiced Cauliflower Pickle


24-Hour Spiced Cauliflower Pickle

Romanesco cauliflower works especially well for this quick homemade pickle, but other varieties work, too

Leda Meredith

Tangy but not too sour, flavorful without being overly spiced, this cauliflower pickle is a party favorite. It is especially attractive if you make it with Romanesco cauliflower, but equally good made with regular white cauliflower.

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Brining time: 24 hours

Total Time: 24 hours, 10 minutes

Yield: 2 pints


  • 1 medium-small head cauliflower (1 1/2 - 2 pounds)

  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 1/3 cup vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher, sea or other coarse non-iodized salt
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 sprigs fresh dill leaves OR 1 teaspoon dried dillweed, divided
  • 2 small cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 teaspoon whole mustard seeds, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole cumin seeds, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, divided (optional)


Wash the cauliflower under cool water. Remove any outer leaves. Cut the cauliflower head in half. Slice off the florets with a bit of the base attached, aiming for roughly 1-inch pieces (a little bigger or smaller is okay).

Blanch the cauliflower by steaming or by immersing in boiling water for 2 minutes. Immediately drain and either run under cold water until the cauliflower florets are cooled, or drop into a big bowl of ice water and let sit there for 5 minutes. Drain well.

Divide the dill, garlic, mustard seeds, cumin seeds and pepper flakes (if using) between two glass pint jars. It is not necessary to sterilize the jars for this recipe, but they should be scrupulously clean. Tightly pack in the blanched cauliflower above the seasonings, leaving some head space between the top of the vegetables and the rims of the jars.

Bring the water, vinegar, honey and salt to boil in a small pot, stirring to dissolve the honey and salt. Skim off any foam and discard. Pour the hot brine over the cauliflower and seasonings. The cauliflower should be fully immersed in the brine.

Tightly cover and store in the refrigerator. The spiced cauliflower pickle will be ready to eat in 24 hours, but will be even better if you can wait a week before serving it. It will keep in the refrigerator for up to 6 months, but is best if eaten within 3 months. It is still safe to eat after 3 months, but the texture and flavor will not be as good.

Serving Suggestions

Spiced Cauliflower Pickle is great served alongside curries. It stands up nicely on its own as part of a relish tray, but in that context is especially good paired with a soft, mild cheese. You can also chop it up and combine it with labneh or sour cream for a quick dip or spread.

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